THIS AND THAT: History of a kind was made in Saturday’s wild game between the San Jose Sharks and the Tampa Bay Lightning, when first Martin St. Louis and then Joe Pavelski each scored a natural hat trick (three consecutive goals) in what finished as a 5-4 Sharks’ victory. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that had only happened three previous times in NHL history – once back in 2006 (Ryan Smyth of Edmonton; Jonathan Cheechoo of San Jose), the other two times almost a century ago (Jack Darragh of Ottawa and Didier Pitre of Montreal on Jan. 16, 1919 and Frank Nighbor and Cy Denneny, both of Ottawa, on Mar. 6, 1918. St. Louis has been on a scoring tear of late since he was overlooked for Canada’s 2014 men’s Olympic team. He is up to 10th in the overall scoring race and tied for third in goals at 25 ... Speaking of Cheechoo, who won the 2006 Rocket Richard award for the NHL’s top scorer, he is now playing in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League and seemingly thriving, having qualified for the league’s annual all-star game, which occurred last weekend in Bratislava, Slovakia. Also involved in that game: Former NHL coach Mike Keenan, who replaced Paul Maurice as the head coach of Evgeni Malkin’s former team, Metallurg Magnitogorsk, this season ... The Columbus Blue Jackets came up one spot short of the playoffs last season, thanks to a fabulous second-half finish and they’re seemingly at it again now that goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is back healthy and playing well again. The Blue Jackets tied a club record by winning their sixth game in a row Saturday night. In the crowded Eastern Conference standings, they are one of three teams tied for the final playoff berth with 52 points ... Ryan Clowe, the former Sharks top-six winger, had a miserable, injury-filled first half with his new team, the New Jersey Devils, but he has provided a scoring spark since his return to the lineup and through Sunday, had recorded three multi-point games in his last four outings (2-4-6). The Devils need someone to take the pressure off Jaromir Jagr, who is closing in on 700 career goals. This week, he’s up to 696.
AND FINALLY: For the first time in a long time, goaltending doesn’t appear to be an issue for the Philadelphia Flyers, who locked up Steve Mason for three years on a $12.3-million extension this past week. The Flyers were understandably unwilling to commit to Mason on a longer term because he has only just got his game back on the rails this year, after three underachieving years with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The fact that he is playing so well in a city known as a goalie graveyard is worth applauding (and maybe helped along by goalie whisperer Jeff Reese). Mason is currently playing on a one-year, $1.5-million deal he signed with the Flyers to prove that he belonged in the NHL. The new contract bumps him to $4.1-million per season and he will be 29 and an unrestricted free agent when it expires in 2017.
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